All-electric Volkswagen Golf receives new tech, more power and big range boost for 2017 – can it compete with the best EVs as a result?
Of the near-half a million Golfs sold in Europe last year, only a tiny fraction featured an electric powertrain. Most of those were the plug-in hybrid GTE, too, so the e-Golf – first launched three years ago – still has plenty of ground to cover to take battery power to the mainstream market. Sales projections are much more positive for 2017 and beyond, however.
The biggest change will be the extension in predicted range. VW has managed to fit a more energy dense lithium-ion battery, allowing greater capacity without increasing the physical size of the pack.
As a result, the claimed range has risen from 119 miles to 186 miles, while you can now charge it to 80 per cent from a fast charging point in just 45 minutes. It still takes four hours to charge fully on a home charger, or 13 hours from a domestic three-pin plug socket, and we’d expect around 130 miles to be achievable in the real world.
Volkswagen e-Golf 2017Like many top-spec Golfs you’ll find new tech in the form of VW’s 12.3-inch Active Info Display, which replaces lesser cars’ analogue dials. This is particularly useful in the EV, allowing you to prioritise things like remaining range, as well as accessing real-time info on the required length of your next charging stop.
Elsewhere, all e-Golfs get the glossy new 9.2-inch Discover Pro infotainment system as standard, which is feature-packed and largely slick to operate – save, that is, for the rather useless hand-swipe gesture control.
Aside from that, it’s the same sober but impressively solid Golf interior that we’ve grown to appreciate over the years. From the inside, the only clues that you’re driving an EV are the subtle badges and the blue stitching. Sticking the electric motor where the engine usually is means that there’s no dent to the VW’s ample rear passenger space, either, although the 341 litre boot is 39 litres down on the standard car due to the batteries under the floor.
Read more: Auto Express